06/11/2001 12:00AM

Houston fans defy flooding


Flooding in Houston last weekend did little to keep diehard race fans from attending the simulcast races at Sam Houston Race Park but did affect betting at a number of racetracks and their offtrack betting parlors that use Sam Houston as a wagering hub. Flooding in Houston started late Friday, stranding about 40 horseplayers and 20 employees overnight at the North Houston track, where a record 18 inches of rain fell. On Saturday, a crowd of 1,913 attended the track on Belmont Stakes Day, defying city officials who urged residents to stay home because Houston was in the state of emergency.

The rain caused problems for tracks that use Sam Houston as a wagering hub, as Sam Houston was unable to process bets at certain times over the weekend because of difficulties with its phone system.